Human brain responses to gustatory and food stimuli: A meta-evaluation of neuroimaging meta-analyses

Neuroimage. 2019 Nov 15;202:116111. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116111. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Multiple neuroimaging meta-analyses have been published concerning gustation, food and taste. A meta-evaluation of these meta-analyses was conducted to qualitatively evaluate the presented evidence. A systematic search was done using multiple databases, in which no restriction was placed on participants and nature of interventions (stimuli vs control). Twenty-three meta-analyses were identified and analyzed. All of them have met 4-9 criteria, out of 11, from the modified checklist constructed by Müller et al. (2018), which implied moderate to high quality of evidence. One of the concerns we found was that no meta-analysis surveyed had been explicitly pre-registered. Also, only three meta-analyses (13.0%) provided clear explanation of how they accounted for sample overlap. Only six meta-analyses (26.1%) explicitly described how they double checked the data. Only two of the 20 meta-analyses (10.0%) using GingerALE software used both the debugged version (v2.3.6) as well as the recommended cluster-level inference with familywise error rate correction. Overall, meta-analyses are increasingly adopting more stringent statistical thresholds, but unfortunately not larger number of studies contained in the analyses.

Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation; Food; Gustation; Literature analysis; Meta-analysis; Meta-evaluation; Neuroimaging; Review; Taste; fMRI.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Neuroimaging / standards*